LAS VEGAS—According to statistics released today by the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS (GLVAR), Southern Nevada’s housing market started 2013 in much the same way it ended 2012, with rising home prices and a tight housing supply.

                “Local home prices continue to go up, and that’s generally good news for homeowners, sellers and most people who live here,” said 2013 GLVAR President Dave Tina, a longtime local REALTOR who succeeded Kolleen Kelley as GLVAR president on Jan. 1. “At the same time, we only have about a six-week supply of available homes to offer buyers. That’s not enough to meet demand. This lack of inventory continues to be one of our biggest challenges.”

                January’s GLVAR statistics showed a decline in the number of short sales – which occur when a lender agrees to sell a home for less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. For more than a year, GLVAR has been documenting a shift from foreclosures to short sales. The percentage of existing homes sold as part of a short sale set a local record in December 2012, accounting for 45.8 percent of all sales. Bank-owned sales, which made up about 80 percent of all sales four years ago, accounted for only 9.5 percent of all local home sales in December. But in January, short sales slipped to 36.2 percent of all existing local home sales, while bank-owned sales bounced back a bit to 12.5 percent of all sales.

Although short sales declined in January, Tina expects them to continue accounting for a sizable percentage of all local housing sales throughout 2013 before tapering off in 2014. He said Congress contributed to that trend last month when it voted to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act by one year to Dec. 31, 2013. After that date, any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a home as part of a short sale may become taxable when sellers file their income taxes.

With prices rising and inventory falling, REALTORS® are reporting more homes sold by “traditional” sellers – as opposed to lenders, who are responsible for the short sales and foreclosures that have dominated the local housing market in recent years. In fact, for the first time in years, Tina said “traditional” sales accounted for more than half of all local home sales in January.

GLVAR said the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in the traditionally slow month of January was 2,821. That’s down from 3,624 in December and down from 3,591 total sales in January 2012. Compared to December, single-family home sales during January decreased by 22.9 percent, while sales of condos and townhomes decreased by 19.0 percent. Compared to one year ago, home sales were down 22.1 percent, while condo and townhome sales were down 18.6 percent.

As for prices, GLVAR reported the median price of single-family homes sold in January was $150,000, up 0.7 percent from $149,000 in December and up 27.1 percent from $118,000 one year ago. Local home prices haven’t posted this kind of annual appreciation since at least 2004. Meanwhile, the median price of local condominiums and townhomes sold in January was $75,000, down 1.3 percent from $76,000 in December, but up 36.4 percent from $55,000 one year ago.

The total number of homes listed for sale on GLVAR’s Multiple Listing Service declined in January, with a total of 14,433 single-family homes listed for sale at the end of the month. That’s down 1.2 percent from 14,601 homes listed for sale at the end of December and down 24.7 percent from one year ago. GLVAR reported a total of 3,477 condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS at the end of January, matching the number of condos and townhomes listed at the end of December and down 15.9 percent from one year ago.

As for available homes listed for sale without any sort of pending or contingent offer by the end of January, GLVAR reported 3,334 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That’s down 9.6 percent from 3,688 such homes listed in December and down 58.3 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 1,222 properties listed without offers in January represented a 2.3 percent decrease from 1,251 such properties in December and a decrease of 30.0 percent from one year ago.

In January, GLVAR reported that 56.1 percent of all existing homes sold in Southern Nevada were purchased with cash. That’s up from 55.2 percent in December.

GLVAR reported that the median price of bank-owned single-family homes sold in January was $137,000, down from $140,000 in December. The median price of single-family homes sold as part of a short sale in January was $125,000, down from $139,800 in December.

These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of January 2013. GLVAR distributes such statistics each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners. Other highlights include:

  • The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during January decreased by 20.2 percent for homes to nearly $432 million. For condos and townhomes, the total value of all sales in January was more than $64 million, down 6.6 percent from December. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in January were up 2.9 percent for homes and up 24.0 percent for condos and townhomes.
  • In January, 67.4 percent of all homes and 68.6 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to December, when 68.9 percent of all homes and 71.8 percent of all condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.